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PostPoints tip: Don't buy cables in stores

You can come up with fair arguments to shop for electronics gear in physical stores or on the Web; real-world merchants let you inspect the merchandise firsthand and provide near-instant gratification, while online retailers typically offer better prices. But it's hard to conjure up a reason to buy audio, video or data cables in most land-based shops: Too many of them can't resist the temptation to pad their profits by charging triple, quadruple or quintuple what online discounters charge. For example, I've yet to see HDMI digital audio-video cables (handy for connecting HDTVs and video sources like digital video recorders) sell for less than $20 in mass-market retailers, while Web-only stores such as Amazon or the cable specialist monoprice.com offer numerous under-$10 models that work just as well as the expensive, name-brand hardware of a big-box store. (Tip to retailers: Try charging only double the online rate; the convenience of being able to take the cables home today might justify that sort of markup.)

By Rob Pegoraro  |  August 11, 2009; 9:34 AM ET
Categories:  Tips  
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